Who’s happy at their job?
Real estate appraisers are!
Appraisers have higher-than-usual job satisfaction. With an impressive job satisfaction rating of 79.4 percent, real estate appraisers in the United States are generally much happier at their jobs than other Americans are. It’s a sad truth, but only a pitiful 54 percent of American workers report that they are satisfied with their jobs! That’s a pretty disheartening reality.
Why are appraisers so happy with their jobs? According to McKissock, the top five reasons appraisers are satisfied with their jobs are:
- Flexible schedule
- Healthy work-life balance
- Respectable income
- Challenging work
- Diverse work opportunities
What makes real estate appraising so enjoyable? What exactly do real estate appraisers do?
I asked several appraisers about their routines for a typical day. When I got the results and looked through them, it was clear that there is no “typical day”. Their answers varied, sometimes significantly. So rather than summarize a typical day for all appraisers, I’m going to report some of the responses I got. After all, the results show the reasons why appraiser love their jobs! An appraiser’s day clearly demonstrates the flexibility of real estate appraising. And flexibility is one of the top reasons that appraisers love their jobs!
Starting The Day
Every appraiser sets up their own agenda. Appraisers who work in small offices or for themselves tend to have more flexibility with their schedule versus appraisers who work for large offices.
The appraisers that I interviewed reported a variety of times that they started their day. One appraiser said that he wakes up between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.! Most of the other appraisers got up between 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Some appraisers get right to work, often within 30 minutes of getting out of bed. Others take some time for themselves. Some have developed morning routines to help them function with better mental, spiritual, and physical health. One such appraiser described his morning routine:
I’m religious, so I read the scriptures for a few minutes each morning. I then head downstairs to my home gym to exercise for 30-45 minutes (if I slept well). I find a routine of spiritual and physical exercise helps me feel more fulfilled and sets the right tone for the day (He who wins the morning, wins the day). I then have a nutritional breakfast with my family. I usually prepare this meal, which consists of either oatmeal and a toasted peanut butter and honey sandwich or an egg dish for protein.Gentry
After getting started for the day, the appraisers reported starting their workday anywhere from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Paperwork made up the first hours of the day for the early risers since no homeowner is going to let an appraiser in for an inspection in the middle of the night!
Inspections often started the workday for our later risers. The variety in the scheduling is another example of the flexibility appraisers have. They can easily adapt their schedule to fit their work-order preferences.
As for how long it takes them to appraise, the amount of time it takes to inspect a home varies. Some appraisers reported that it takes half an hour to an hour to inspect one property; others reported that it takes them an average of two hours per property. That’s a big range, likely caused by the type of properties the appraisers focused on (that would be another interesting blog post!) and possibly by their thoroughness as well.
Some appraisers schedule appraisals every day, while others have inspection-only days and office-only days. For appraisers who inspect and do paperwork on the same day, they fit in some inspections then return to their office to work on the reports. Sometimes they inspect properties in the morning then do reports and finish up with more inspections in the afternoon. Again, part of the appeal of being a real estate appraiser is the flexibility! (I might say that a LOT in this post!)
Paperwork and Phone Calls
Paperwork, the bane of many workers, is an integral part of real estate appraisers’ work! Seasoned appraisers reported that they spend about 2 to 3 hours on each report. Less experienced appraisers noted they spend about 4 hours of paperwork per report. (This is the perfect time to mention DataMaster! We save you time on your assignments, up to an hour or more! Call us at 801.657.5769.)
Responses about time on the phone ranged from about half an hour to 2-3 hours per day. One appraiser specified that appraisal issues took up about an hour, and industry issues another 1 to 2 hours. The role of assistants is significant here, one appraiser stated:
My office assistant does the scheduling and file set up for me. As a results, my phone time is drastically cut so I’m only on the phone for maybe 30 minutes a day on average.Gentry
Time To Eat!
So, they’re busy, running to inspections and working on paperwork. Do appraisers have time to eat? The majority of appraisers that I interviewed said that if they ate lunch, it was “on the run.” Jared reported that his lunch was often “not healthy, usually I take a sandwich with me on the road; I eat a lot of sunflower seeds.” One appraiser did a little better with trail mix and a protein bar but said lunch was “extremely short.”
Calling It A Day
It can be hard to call it a day when you work from home. It can also be hard to call it a day when you’re very busy, which most appraisers are (hey, this is 2021!). Most appraisers reported that they were done around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. but often fit in paperwork later in the evening or on Saturdays. One appraiser, the one who gets up between 2 a.m. and 3 p.m., said that his day ends at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., and he’s in bed by 10:30 p.m., only to get up 4 hours later! Now that’s a long work week!
The Hardest Part About Appraising
The hardest part about appraising is another subject that could be a whole other blog post! But let’s keep it short. The top reported difficulty was dealing with people. One appraiser said that he dislikes:
Trying to figure out why people do things and what their motivations might be in order to determine a market value.Keven
Another appraiser reported:
I have a distaste for arguing with homeowners/realtors about value. I’m non-confrontations so contention gives me anxiety.
Another downside to appraising? Dealing with animals! One appraiser reported that he’d been bitten by dogs six times over the past 25+ years! “Don’t worry, he won’t bite!” just doesn’t cut it! (Put your dogs away BEFORE the appraiser arrives!)
We’ve established that appraisers can set their hours, take on as much or as little work as they’d like (the long workday versus the shorter workday) and that they often work from home. If they’re so content with their jobs, does that mean that they stick with their careers longer?
It would appear so! The average appraiser is 50 years old! More than half of appraisers have over 20 years of experience and are nearing retirement age! Longevity is a good indication of job satisfaction. The challenge is bringing in younger appraisers and educating them about the flexibility that appraisers have, the healthy life-work balance, the respectable income, the challenging work, and the diverse work opportunities!
Real estate appraising is a challenging yet flexible, esteemed career. Taking a peek into an average day for an appraiser shows that average days can vary according to the appraiser! A typical day for one is not necessarily a typical day for another! And that’s what makes it so appealing!
As one of the highest-rated careers for job satisfaction, real estate appraising is a job worth looking into.